Byron Joseph Plapp was born November 17, 1989, in Jacksonville. His family moved to Katy, a
suburb of Houston in December of that year and the drive to school paralleled a rail line over which military equipment was transported from Ft. Hood and other western depots to the Port of Beaumont, TX. As a young boy, many of these military items were fascinating and there were many to see as America went to war in the middle east during this time.
Byron’s family returned to Jacksonville in 1991 where he was able to spend time with his
grandfathers and his great uncle Scotty who were all retired from the military. Exposure to
these men, to their stories and military memorabilia further fostered Byron’s interest in the
military and service. Byron loved to read military books ranging from novels by Tom Clancy to
Jane’s Military Aircraft of the World. Military Micro Machines filled his bed room.
Always active and drawn to the outdoors, watching his sister Melissa swim from the sidelines was not nearly as interesting as getting in the mix himself and at the age of 6 Byron began swimming. When Melissa transferred to The Bolles School and continued swimming there, Byron soon followed and swam for Bolles through his graduation from high school. He was one of the boy’s team captains his senior year and he was a 5-year letter winner at Bolles. While Byron was not always the fastest swimmer on the team he always did his best, never wanting to let the team down, especially when swimming his favorite: relays. He was often the anchor, cheering and encouraging everyone to do their best.
He made great friendships with members of the swim team, many of them international students who were borders at Bolles. He tried to include these students in family activities and support them in whatever way he could. Byron served on the Student Council at Bolles for the six years he was at the school. He also served as a leader at his church for 3 rd and 4 th grade boys in Sunday School.
Byron was a National Merritt Scholarship finalist and was recognized at graduation with the
student life award for extraordinary contribution to the school. He received appointments to
both the United States Military Academy, West Point and the United States Naval Academy,
Annapolis. He received an award from the U.S. Army for his science fair project studying the
insulative values of various common substances and at West Point received an award from
BAE Systems for Excellence in Photogrammetry.
Byron was graduated from West Point in 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Geospatial
Information Systems, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant into the United States
Army. In June of that year he married Sarah Stough, a fellow Bolles graduate and reported for
duty at Ft. Rucker, AL to begin flight school. He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in November
that year and underwent treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. He was in remission
briefly in 2014 and declined an early retirement, hoping to fulfill his military commitment, and was able to return to duty with the Army. The cancer returned, and he underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2015, which due to resulting complications, led to his death. Byron was retired from the Army and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal.
Byron was quick to laugh and has been fondly remembered by his friends for his loyalty and support. He had a strong love for people, for his sisters and family but also the family he created around him. He was always looking for ways to help others, rising to the tasks of leadership to do just that. It is these characteristics and traits that we seek to encourage and reward through the Byron J. Plapp Memorial Scholarship.